The Note: Abducted by Aliens

Progress for America launches a 9-day, $500,000 advertising buy today on national cable (CNN and Fox) and several targeted states (Louisiana, Maine, and North Dakota) in support of Judge Samuel Alito's confirmation to the Supreme Court. The ad is called "Drip" and takes on the "liberal" Alito critics for what PFA sees as a daily stream of unfounded attacks on his record. The television ad is scheduled to coincide with PFA's 18-state "barnstorm" by 29 of Alito's clerks, personal friends, mentors, and former colleagues.

Look for the anti-Alito forces to roll out their latest ad campaign tomorrow. The House and Senate meet for a brief pro forma session to begin the second session of the 109th Congress. (This duty will fall to a relatively few members who may be in or near town.) The Senate is scheduled to return to business on January 18. The House is expected to get back to work on January 31.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff holds a 10:30 am ET press conference on the 2006 Urban Area Security Initiative Grants in Washington, DC.

Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) is in Woodbine, GA today at the (closed press) Republican Governors Association "Sportsmen Challenge."

President Bush's week ahead includes a statement on the Global War on Terrorism tomorrow morning at the Pentagon, a meeting with the current and former Secretaries of State and Defense at the White House on Thursday, and a speech on the economy from Chicago, IL on Friday.

Tomorrow, Vice President Cheney delivers remarks on Iraq and the GWOT at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC, Gov. Pataki (R-NY) delivers his final State of the State address in Albany, NY, and former Pittsburgh Steelers star Lynn Swann (R-PA) is expected to announce his gubernatorial campaign in three-day statewide tour.

Samuel Alito for Associate Justice:

David Kirkpatrick of the New York Times previews the feeble onslaught of Alito-related public relations campaigns (both for and against the nomination) set to kick into high gear this week including a coalition of anti-Alito forces apparently preparing to attack Judge Alito's integrity and credibility. LINK

Despite the Kirkpatrick breathlessness, recall the predictions of millions and millions of dollars being spent and citizens in the streets, and you can better put all this in perspective.

In their story looking at the semi-reinvigorated fight over Alito's nomination, USA Today's Kiely and Memmott Note that liberal MoveOn.org plans to deliver anti-Alito petitions to Specter's Philadelphia offices Thursday while the conservative Family Research Council plans to host a TV broadcast featuring pro-Alito speakers at a Philadelphia church on Sunday. LINK

The Boston Globe columnist Peter Cannellos writes that Judge Alito's "chances of being confirmed as a Supreme Court justice could turn on whether the public comes away from next week's confirmation hearings believing he is a conservative judicial activist or merely a conservative judge." LINK

Former Solicitor General Charles Fried comes to Judge Alito's defense on the op-ed page of the New York Times. LINK

In the Times' "editorial observer" space, Adam Cohen focuses on how Alito might answer questions concerning one-person, one-vote. LINK

Bush agenda:

In a USA Today story about "the six-year itch" facing President Bush, David Jackson and Susan Page have Grover Norquist calling 2005 "a perfect storm of problems" and offering his thoughts about 2006. LINK

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